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Nkwa Umuagbogho: Directing Considerations (Part 3)


Egwu George Chukwuemeka


Professional dancers like those from Nkwa Umuagbogho Dance Group require training to master the movements, rules and other skills needed for masterful execution of their presentation. The leader takes them through the necessary training directs the whole performance. He maintains eye-contact with the other performers where necessary. During a performance, he coordinates the performance of dancers, players and singers even though every member of the group knows his/her part to the minutest details.

The dance group starts with the instrumentalists, who are set in place, at a convenient spot well clear of space reserved for the dancers with definite signs of organization immediately apparent. Then the lead-instrumentalist sounds a few introductory notes to announce that all is ready to begin the performance. The other instruments join in, and this is the signal for the dancers to fall out (into line).

The dancers arrange themselves under the direction of the leader. The initial movements are slow swaging steps. After a while, the complicated movements begin and gradually the dancers work up to full pitch. As the speed of the drumming and dancing increase, so does the excitement and fascination felt by the spectators. The dance also involves extraordinary and prolonged series of body contortions executed at high speed. Absolute uniformity of movement is expected of the dancers.

There is always a leader among the dancers. She makes a different movement, which acts as a signal. The performers take the cue, twisting, turning and leaping. They go through a series of rigorous dance movements, and dramatic displays which are bewildering to watch, and which entail great physical strain. It should be noted that the Nkwa Umuagbogho Dance Goup has won several awards and accolades; gained local, national and international recognitions and maintained leadership status for quite a long period of time.

The questions now are where is the Nkwa Umuagbogho Dance Group? What is the role of Afikpo, Ebonyi State, Nigeria, Africa and the world at large in supporting the group to retain its glory? Who can take up the challenge of revamping Nkwa Umuagbogho Dance Group and restoring it to its former glory as the pride of Africa’s traditional dance?

The time to act is now.

One comment


    Only those still with a passion for dance and who appreciate what they value can do it.

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